The event management services that agencies provide can get a little misconstrued.
For some, their perception of the executive producer is someone wearing all-black back stage, with a microphone headset on, running around screaming “Has anyone seen Sheryl?! She’s due on-stage in 3 minutes!”
That perception is more accurate than we care to admit.
It’s true that what an event production company provides in terms of actual services can seem a bit ambiguous. Some shops specialize so much you only get a few things with them, others are so broad that it’s hard to know what they do best.
To clear up any confusion, here are some of the many event management services that production agencies provide.
Top 8 Must-Have Event Management Services
Starting off, this is one of the most essential event management services an agency can bring.
As the brand-side representative, you’re responsible for ensuring the event solves your event objectives and KPIs. We can boast all day about how these events are fun and facilitate great connections that empower our company, but the truth is we need to demonstrate some type of ROI if we wish to continue our role.
The most powerful way you can ensure your event delivers on ROI is to create an immersive engagement strategy. This needs to excite your audience, immerse them in their surroundings and, above all, connect them to your brand story.
Chances are, if you’re planning the annual convention, you’ve already got a great understanding of your company’s current objectives and goals. However, an event agency’s specialized perspective provides a unique ability to craft an ultra-engaging event that targets and solves your business objectives in the context of events.
A proper event agency understands your convention or conference is a huge investment and partners with you to develop an overall engagement strategy that maximizes the value behind your event budget.
Lights and Sound
This is typically what people think of when they hear “production agency.” The big stage, flashy lights and prominent speakers. This is typically what people recall as part of the corporate event’s general session.
By design, production agencies are well-suited to curate and manage all things audio and visual. They might own their own equipment, which makes sense for an agency producing dozens of shows per year. Conversely, for the brand-side, owning equipment would be a huge loss.
If the agency doesn’t own, they have a list of strategic partners and preferred vendors in each city across the country, all of which are competitively priced to give the highest value lights, sound and labor.
Either way, having access to low-cost, high-value lights and sound systems is an essential corporate event management service.
This event management service goes hand-in-hand with your overall engagement strategy.
In the best-case scenarios, agencies work with your team to develop your event’s main purpose. From there, they use that organizing purpose to frame all of the content strategy and design. Everything, from Scenic Design to Hallway Signage to Content Development, is crafted to fit that overall strategy – that main purpose.
Agencies naturally develop robust in-house expertise on the design front. Typically, your account receives its own Creative Director and designer (or designers, depending on the scope of work). This creative team brings event-specific strategies and insights to your content design while also getting to know your brand throughout the partnership.
As time goes on, they’ll develop a great sense of your brand and how to best voice it during your annual conference.
If you’re planning your conference or convention for the first time, sourcing vendors is a hassle.
For starters, it’s hard to gauge exactly how may vendors you’ll need to work with in the end. There’s the A/V crew, show caller, security, entertainment, registration and more. And that’s not even considering sourcing and managing the venue relationship.
Once you understand how many vendors you need, you’ll then have to source bids from each one to make sure you’re protecting your event investment. But you’re also trying to understand which vendor option brings the best value, not necessarily which is the cheapest.
Juggling RFPs for multiple services can be a serious pain in the butt.
Enter event production agencies. By specializing in corporate event management, agencies have an added efficiency in this process. They’ll have a long list of preferred vendors they consistently work with and trust. And if one of those vendors doesn’t work for one particular situation, agencies have the sourcing process down to a bit of a science.
In addition to sourcing all vendors, producers coordinate everything onsite. They’ll work tirelessly (there’s a reason people associate event production with stress) to ensure each vendor understands their role in the overall experience.
Speaker Sourcing and Management
Corporate events are really unique in that a CEO could talk on stage one minute, followed by Peyton Manning the next.
These two speakers – the company official and the Keynote – are very different in their approach, but quite similar in their objective. One is framing the business-side of things while the other focuses on the personal motivation.
It’s remarkably important that these two speakers, through their own unique style, stick to the key messaging and engagement strategy on hand. That means developing the content and context of their speeches to align with the event’s unique characteristics, such as its event theme.
Sourcing and coaching speakers from all walks of life is a distinguishing value-add that event production companies bring. Professional producers thread the key messaging throughout each speech, establish a coherent show flow to keep things moving and consult with speakers for maximum impact.
The end result? Each speech is clear, on brand and seamless.
In addition to keynote speaker management, a great production company handles the entertainment side as well. Here, we’re moving from the inspirational “Peyton Manning” territory and into a more “Jerry Seinfeld” or “Goo Goo Dolls” area.
Procuring and managing entertainment is best left for a specialized production company, for similar reasons as coordinating vendors. It’s just simply too time-intensive and specific for many offices to keep up with.
But more than efficiency, you’re event production agency is well-poised to field multiple entertainment candidates that are appropriate for your event, negotiate better contracts and ensure a more buttoned-up appearance. This knowledge comes from a crossover of their:
- Expertise from doing it over and over again
- Knowledge of your event’s purpose
Once you select a the perfect entertainment option, your agency partner will manage the rest of the logistics. Speaker and Entertainment management alone are some of the most common event management services out there.
Another table-stakes event management service is assisting with sponsorships. You can use sponsorships to bolster your event’s budget and make it way cooler as a result.
Agencies have skills in defining target sponsor personas, creating packages that align with those personas, marketing those packages to your prospects and drafting contingency plans for if/when extra budget starts flooding in.
Most of this page deals with the strategy and management of a few small parts. But taken together, all these small parts make up one massive event.
In order to keep those small parts moving together in sync like a beautifully conducted orchestra, you need knowledge of each moving part, understanding of the role each part plays in the bigger picture and the expertise to glue it all together.
Executive producers work with clients from start to finish, end to end. They participate in all the early phase brainstorms and take the reins when big decisions start coming. Additionally, they communicate with all vendors and in-house designers to ensure everything in the event goes as smoothly as possible.
And So, So Much More
You’ll know your partner agency is the right one when they operate as an extension of your team. That means sharing your goals and creating a joint incentive to pull off a fantastic, purposeful show.
When the agency is motivated to help out the team overall, it opens the door to much more than lights, sound, strategy and execution. That’s because when you partner with a production agency, you partner with their entire network as well. Total access to logistics planning, registration management, Pre and Post event communications, and anything else you can think of!